As the omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 rages in the U.S., President Joe Biden on Tuesday will try to reassure Americans that they can safely reunite with friends and family this Christmas, as long as they get vaccinated and wear face masks when they travel.
President Joe Biden vows omicron won’t ruin Christmas
Biden will address the nation on his administration’s plan to manage the spread of omicron, which on Monday became the predominant variant of the virus that causes covid-19 currently circulating in the United States.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden would not announce anything like the “confinements” that the Trump administration initially supported in the early weeks of the pandemic last March.
“This is not a speech about confining the country,” Psaki stated.
She added that the administration’s recent messaging around covid-19, including Biden’s warning last week that more hospitalizations and deaths would result for those who were not vaccinated, was not meant to scare anyone, but “to make it clear to the people of the country what the risks are of not being vaccinated.”
A senior White House official spoke to reporters on a conference call Monday night to preview Biden’s remarks:
“Many Americans have questions about how to reunite with family, how to be safer, and whether we are headed toward confinement. The President will answer all of those questions and lay out the new steps he is taking to prepare for the surge in cases.”
The official said Biden will emphasize that the U.S. now has the tools it needs to deal with the omicron variant, which experts say has several genetic mutations that help it spread much more easily than other Sars-CoV-2 variants.
The president will tell Americans that they will have “a high degree of protection against severe disease” if they have been vaccinated against covid-19, and even more so if they have opted to receive one of the widely available covid-19 booster vaccines.